Thursday 6 October 2011

Inside the players' minds.

So, halfway through and with my second mini-tournament about to kick off I was able to take a look around and see the amazing collection of stuff that people bring with them, make or just are happy to have around with them as they game their way through the week.

This screen screens something but I'm not sure exactly what.
Throughout the day I've met the nicest people you'd ever want to game with.  Everyone has a passion for the game that's infectious, they're generous with their time and the amount of dedication that the guys have is just incredible.

Lars and I were chatting about the 12 years the Swedish guys have put into Hakke Palle, the upcoming Finnish module.   The wonderful ESG team, who have the energy to playtest those monster scenarios (amongst the others that they produce).

Scott of the Gamers' Armory
Scott Blanton, from the Gamer's Armory was talking about his store, which sits alongside his web shop, but that it wasn't even his day job.  Here's a picture of him on the right - it was great to meet him after our emails that we've swapped over the last few years.  Scott sponsors my site, the Scenario Archive, so I promised him a beer, which I'll be buying him tonight.

I've spoken with Mark Pictavage about his early gaming days, the Schwerpunkt guys were on good form and the Friendly Fire team who continue to push out some great scenarios.

Xavier, from LFT, fits in the creation of the packs with his crew despite his world-wide travelling schedule and then Sam Tyson comes along to deliver Crucible of Steel - a most impressive pack, weighing in at about a kilogram of ASL, with its 32 scenarios, 6 maps and nearly 400 counters!

Here it is below, next to my mac for scale.  Crazy cool and I know if it's anywhere near as good as Blood and Jungle is, there'll be plenty of play to extract out of that, for sure.
Crucible of Steel - adding to my baggage weight limit
The matchbox organisation method
I took as many photos as I could of the various gizmos and gadgets I came across - take a look at them below.

So, because you've got this far, I'll quickly mention that I lost my latest game, the semi-final of the street fighting Mini, against Jason Eickmann, disappointingly early.  We played Cocktails for Molotov and there are 12 or so Polish squads defending the middle strip, width-ways of two boards.  The Russians come on with 7 tanks and right behind them are 6 trucks.  There's a sudden death game end moment should the Russians get 2 squads into one of two buildings.

Jason's clearly no novice and froze every one of my 4 units on the left hand side with his tanks, despite me taking one out with the title inspired molotov.  It turned out that's pretty much all I did - as the Russian trucks simply rolled past.  Well, at least they would have done - but I resigned as soon as I realised there was nothing I could do to prevent the 6 trucks getting deep into my back field.

The coolest dice tower on show?
I was disappointed not to be able to have a "proper" game with Jason, the scenario has a certain puzzle element about its setup conditions, which we discussed afterwards.  It seems that maybe the Poles must defend one side of their set up area with roadblocks alone, giving enough strength in numbers on the centre and their left.  Because they can't setup in upper levels, and can't defend beyond hexrow 8 they're forced into a wide, shallow defence which can be bypassed with relative ease.

Back in my room I realise I needed to lay down more residual on the approach, and had to set the units further apart to keep the platoon moving tanks from bypassing a platoon each.

Either way, the scenario wasn't great - but more from the point that we spent more time setting up than playing.  Never a good sign.

I even forgot my camera so I couldn't take a photo of the disaster, too!

I spent the spare time chatting to Eric and Glenn from the East Side Gamers - promising to play a scenario of their choice from the packs. I feel for the team when they spend so much time working on the designs that sometimes get overlooked if they're not played in the year of release.

Glen suggested The 24 Hour Pass, so that will be my next big scenario that I can write up when I'm back home.


  1. Keep this up Dave. I'm enjoying living vicariously through your blog.

    How does the hotel rate food and drink wise? I found American food rather bland in and of itself with an over reliance on packet sauces (does every salad need ranch dressing?)

    I'm particularly enjoying the photos now putting faces to names..

  2. Hi Martin, the food's good in the hotel restaurant - we had a good dinner last night down there for about $15 each, drinks are close to $4.50 each - but there's less drinking here than at the UK tournaments. You're more of a connoisseur than I - so you should definitely come out for yourself to check it out!